Cyber ​​security or death. One of the biggest challenges for autonomous vehicles are hackers

autonomous vehicles safety

Paralysis of a fleet of autonomous trucks caused by a cyber attack by an unfair competitor? It is highly likely that such headlines will soon appear in the media. And may they not appear even more tragic.

When the Wired magazine journalist in 2015 became aware of the terrible digital protections in his Cherokee Jeep, we finally understood that the automotive industry must learn completely new, previously unknown car design practices. If the burglars were able to influence the work of the vehicle by breaking into its multimedia system, what can they achieve in autonomous, based almost entirely on digital algorithms of cars?

Autonomous cars and related road infrastructure components is a dense network of IoT devices. From the very beginning, its design assumes the need to maintain the maximum level of security. However, not completely related to exploits or malware. This network must be reliable and work with extremely minimal delays. Because safety in the context of vehicles is first of all protection of health and life of passengers and passers-by. The bottlenecks of its infrastructure can cause a tragic accident.

This is a new set of problems for the inexperienced automotive industry.

As I read on the IMI website , more than 60 cities are already conducting pilot programs on the subject of street authorization for autonomous vehicles. Next year, almost 100,000 will appear on the market. cars that are able to move in motion without the driver's involvement. The scale of development is huge, but it is still mainly the wiping of trails. Companies that have so far been great innovators in mechanics invest huge resources in the development of electronics and artificial intelligence. And they are absolute novices in this industry.

The problem is that veterans of the cybersecurity industry - although in most cases still more competent than car manufacturers - are also just learning to overcome the challenges associated with the IoT revolution. Specialized entities are created, such as the company Escrypt, with whom I had the opportunity to talk at Bosch ConnectedWorld 2019, which focus on cyber security around intelligent infrastructure and vehicles. And which already now recognize that only joint efforts of companies from both industries will provide real protection.

The safety of autonomous vehicles also determines the level of security of the factories in which they arise or the smart city on which they move.

As one of the representatives of Escrypta drew my attention, it is possible to carry out an effective cyber attack on an autonomous vehicle before it leaves the production line. There is, after all, the risk that the software of such a vehicle will be infected with an unauthorized code already in the factory. Or that cryptographic keys will be stolen from the factory's servers, providing the possibility of remote vehicle control by authorized devices and units.

This means that already in the case of the technological process of production of such a vehicle, IT management systems should be thoroughly rethought and redesigned. Not only for - so far - theft of intellectual property or sabotage of the production line, but also to protect individual components of manufactured vehicles from unauthorized modifications.

Similarly, the situation looks like regarding the use of the vehicle. The protection of its internal systems, although necessary, is insufficient. Autonomous vehicles are, after all, part of a larger network, and this one must be not only properly secured, but also extremely efficient - and the more digital security means, the harder it is to keep quick response times.

Fortunately, all stakeholders seem to recognize this threat.

Escrypt appeared at the ConnectedWorld conference, of course, to promote its own comprehensive solutions. However, this does not mean that the problems and challenges identified by the company do not exist or are not significant. Fortunately, you can get the impression that companies investing in the development of autonomous vehicles have received their lesson of humility and seem to listen to authorities in the field of cyber security - and even include alliances with them or take over their companies.

However, there is a need for cooperation between entities that have so far had no reason to conduct any dialogue. Before our eyes, a completely new branch of computer science will be created, ie entities specialized in securing the Internet of Things. Something like that belonging to Bosch and the above-mentioned Escrypt. This is good news for all those who link their future career with digital security. Although this also means that we can wait for a bit longer than we originally expected for truly smart cities and vehicles.



Cyber ​​security or death. One of the biggest challenges for autonomous vehicles are hackers

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